Interview: Talking About Tires With Maxxis, Schwalbe, Continental, WTB, & Others

Mar 20, 2023 at 13:40
by Dario DiGiulio  



What is your favorite tire in your lineup, and why?

The new Hillbilly Grid Trail T9 is my current favorite. The casing is our mid-weight trail version which keeps the tire playful and responsive and uses our grippiest compound. My local trails have a lot of leaf litter and debris over harder packed, the Hillbilly knobs cut through the top layer and find traction. It’s a really fun tire that has become my go-to.

It seems as though tubeless technology has plateaued a bit over the past few years, do you see any major changes on the horizon?

The basics are dialed, but there is plenty of room for improvement. To innovate, tire and wheel companies need to work together. Because tubeless is a system, working independently creates boundaries and limits on new tech.

Where do you stand on inserts? How do they factor into new tire development?

We generally recommend riders to move up to a more robust casing or add a few extra psi, but for some riders and disciplines inserts are valuable. We test and tune our tires during development with and without inserts to find a sweet spot that works great for either setup.

I’ve heard that leaving newly installed tires at max psi overnight can help stretch the casing, giving full volume and a better ride feel. Is this actually the case?

Yes. There is a little stretch still in the tire after production. How much depends on materials and construction.

The tire casing cord holding the tire together is made of strong densely arranged nylon fibers in warp direction, whereas the fibers used for weft are weaker and really only needed to keep the main load-bearing warp fibers in place during processing. In use, as fibers bed in there is some give. You don’t have to pump tires up and wait, though. On your first ride this will happen all by itself.

Another effect influencing ride behavior comes from the constant deformation of tread compound. When riding the tires the compound will compress and decompress as it goes through the ground contact patch. Going through these cycles of stress and relaxation is changing the position of composition polymers and filler materials towards each other. The constant shear disrupts chemical links between ingredients and softens the compound. Some of the links reverse and heal when the tire is “resting”. But some links are damaged permanently. Besides a new sharp tread, this is why new tires feel fresher compared to a worn out tire.

If you had to choose between sticky tires or aggressive tread pattern for your typical riding, where would you bias? I realize we get to have both, but humor me.

Sticky tires with less aggressive tread. Compound damps vibrations and impacts, adapts and grips terrain, and generally gives you more confidence and a better ride in many conditions even with the less aggressive tread.

Many high-level racers are still running relatively narrow rims compared to the broader market, why do you think that is?

A bicycle is a one lane vehicle that needs to lean when cornering. When leaned over, suspension that is optimized for vertical compliance is compromised.

When leaned over frame, fork, wheel and tire compliance in lateral direction play a relatively bigger role in ground-following ability. Now a relatively narrower rim has more flex laterally and it allows the tire more leverage to conform and lay more tread surface on the ground.
Racers appreciate this behavior and use it for more cornering speed.

Do you worry about rolling resistance in a downhill-focused tire, or is grip the only concern?

The tire needs to support the rider in controlling the ride. Downhill courses typically have a loose surface and controlling the ride means keeping your balance on shifting surfaces. Undisturbed rolling where rolling resistance matters is rather limited except for the motorways on some courses. On those courses, however, rolling resistance does count for the results sheet and we have racing specs to help with speed.

Does your company have any programs in place to recycle tires or generally reduce the waste associated with production?

On the production line we minimize waste, excess material, and use primarily recycled and widely recyclable packaging. Specialized is actively scaling up our recycling programs which will include tires and tubes in the near future.

Historically we’ve heard that tire availability is the thing holding back further development on 36” (or other large wheel size) bike designs, any plans to push that envelope?

We are not currently exploring larger wheel options.






What is your favorite tire in your lineup, and why?

The DHR II is an all-time favorite for me. The braking consistency and power has saved me from hugging trees at trail speed more times than I care to admit.

It seems as though tubeless technology has plateaued a bit over the past few years, do you see any major changes on the horizon?

I think the new ISO standard updates that are around the corner combined with existing ETRTO standards will help provide a reference to a lot of smaller rim and tire manufacturers to make products that are safer and easier to install and ride for the majority of consumers. I think all home and pro mechanics are excited about the prospect of less rim and tire combinations that blow off or require excessive force to mount.

Where do you stand on inserts? How do they factor into new tire development?

Our goal is to design our tires to be race ready without inserts. That being said, inserts are considered with new casing developments from a basic compatibility standpoint.

I’ve heard that leaving newly installed tires at max psi overnight can help stretch the casing, giving full volume and a better ride feel. Is this actually the case?

Yes, leaving the tire at max pressure for rim or tire (whichever is lower) is recommended in ISO standards. This is called tire conditioning, and will allow the tire to expand fully before riding or measurement.

If you had to choose between sticky tires or aggressive tread pattern for your typical riding, where would you bias? I realize we get to have both, but humor me.

For my typical riding out in my home trails in north Georgia I would choose a lower profile tread with a higher grip compound. In my experience this combination lets go and regains traction more consistently and predictably than an underperforming compound and aggressive tread pattern.

Many high-level racers are still running relatively narrow rims compared to the broader market, why do you think that is?

I’ve discussed this with team mechanics a bit, but can’t comment on what could be considered sensitive information for the teams in question. I can say that it is a rim and not tire driven decision.

I do think 30mm inner rim width designs have been proving themselves to be adequately strong, and as rim designs continue to be improved most racers will opt for wider options as the tire profile is more stable on a wider rim. In general, the average racer would be advised to stick to the 30mm+ inner rim width range.

Do you worry about rolling resistance in a downhill-focused tire, or is grip the only concern?

Rolling resistance is definitely a concern for our downhill developments. With how competitive modern downhill is, significant lost time anywhere on a run that compared to our competition is unacceptable for Maxxis and our athletes.

Does your company have any programs in place to recycle tires or generally reduce the waste associated with production?

We are a member of the GPSNR and our natural rubber is FSC certified.

We don’t have a recycling program in place, the composite nature of tires makes recycling very difficult. We are always looking for ways to reduce our environmental impact, and will make more announcements soon.

Historically we’ve heard that tire availability is the thing holding back further development on 36” (or other large wheel size) bike designs, any plans to push that envelope?

We don’t have any immediate plans to venture into larger diameter (32”+) tire developments. I don’t see significant performance gains for the average rider in wheel sizes past 29” right now.

All that being said, we have worked closely with OE partners in the past to develop new sizes and tech, if there was a larger diameter frame development in the works that had promising performance benefits and would create a healthy market for the tires, I’m sure it would be considered just as any new technology development would be. The existing rim selection for 32” and 36” are also a limiting factor, as the current rim selections are 1000+ grams each due to being developed for unicycles.






What is your favorite tire in your lineup, and why?

Generally speaking, the M, in whatever discipline we make it available (XC/Trail, Enduro/EMTB, DH) it is the most versatile model and a great mix between rolling seed and grip on any terrain.

It seems as though tubeless technology has plateaued a bit over the past few years, do you see any major changes on the horizon?

Not really. It is a mature technology that will probably only see marginal gains refinements, but not massive or disruptive innovations in its concept.

Where do you stand on inserts? How do they factor into new tire development?

We’re being constantly asked to make them but are really looking into it from an innovation perspective: we’ll do them when we’ll find a way to solve the problems and limitations of the current ones on the market. Meanwhile, we keep pushing to develop tires that do not need an insert to run flawless in any condition.

That said, we recognize the use of them is common especially in some categories (E-MTB for example) and we did develop an E-MTB specific casing (we call it HyperWALL, patent pending, derived from MX tire construction) made to provide support and riding quality at such low pressures the inserts are most commonly ran at.

I’ve heard that leaving newly installed tires at max psi overnight can help stretch the casing, giving full volume and a better ride feel. Is this actually the case?

It is true the casing stretches, and the full nominal size is achieved. It is textile at the end, so it stretches over time (that being true also across its lifespan… an old tire is generally bigger in volume than itself when it was brand new). Whether this drives to a better riding feel is hard to say. For sure impossible to tell with objective measurements, more a subjective feeling probably…

If you had to choose between sticky tires or aggressive tread pattern for your typical riding, where would you bias? I realize we get to have both, but humor me.

Given the hard choice and the humor, I would go for the aggressive tread, for a reason: I can try to compensate the lack of damping of a softer rubber by tuning suspensions softer and lowering the inflating pressure, while I cannot compensate lower knobs to bite into the terrain if there aren't any of them on the tire.

Many high-level racers are still running relatively narrow rims compared to the broader market, why do you think that is?

Because compliance and precision can both be tuned on a narrower rim (by adjusting spoke tension accordingly). If the rim gets wider it is usually more rigid as default, this might be a reason. Another one is tire shape: the most popular tires are still designed for narrower rims because they come from the past, and so they provide a better shape on them. More modern tires, designed for wider rims, will do a better job on 30mm rims indeed.

Do you worry about rolling resistance in a downhill-focused tire, or is grip the only concern?

Grip isn’t a development target; it is a give (the max possible). Rolling, damping, predictability, vibration absorption are the points where we fine tune and decide a development direction. And yes, rolling is well underestimated in our opinion. With DH races being won or loss by fraction of a second, it definitely has to be a target for developing high performance DH tires.

Does your company have any programs in place to recycle tires or generally reduce the waste associated with production?

We do have many programs in place, from raw material sourcing to recycling and reusing of semi-finished or final products. For cycling specific, we are implementing some of them and adding some cycling-specific one. In the works, not fully ready yet.

Historically we’ve heard that tire availability is the thing holding back further development on 36” (or other large wheel size) bike designs, any plans to push that envelope?

Not really. Benefits aren’t clear to us (not to say doubtful) , and the economy of scale is blocking any investment on the manufacturing side to make it happen.






What is your favorite tire in your lineup, and why?

That’s a tough one as our line has grown so much in the past few seasons. As a designer, my favorite tire is usually the one we are working on, and haven’t launched yet, as we always have new tech in the pipeline.

However, if I were to pick one, I’d say the Mazza. It retains all the feel of a traditional design, but takes all the measures up a notch. It’s grippy without feeling slow. It’s tacky without wearing out too soon. The progressive sipe and step pattern keeps the tire lively, yet stable at the same time. It’s become one of our most popular treads, and for many riders, it’s the reason they switched to our brand.

It seems as though tubeless technology has plateaued a bit over the past few years, do you see any major changes on the horizon?

As a member of ETRTO, Vittoria builds tires around the approved safety standards, including the standards for tubeless. I might push back a bit, and argue that tubeless tires haven’t plateaued, but actually just became more of a standard. While tubeless tires aren’t going away, there are improvements that can be made, in terms of both fit and function. That said, we always working on new projects to improve the rider experience, and this area is no different.

Where do you stand on inserts? How do they factor into new tire development?

We are big insert fans. When we launched the Air-Liner family of inserts, we knew there was a clear benefit in terms of impact resistance, and but felt there was room to improve on weight, rolling resistance, anti-burp, and run-flat. From a tire perspective, for most brands it’s just status quo, but since Vittoria is the only major brand to produce both tires and inserts, we view this relationship differently, and use a system approach.

For example, we produce MTB Air-Liners in 4 sizes, based on use and tire width. Our Gravel Air-Liners use an optimized cross section shape, specifically designed for that discipline. Our Road Air-Liners use a completely different material, which compresses under pressure, and fills the tire in the event of a pressure loss.

The XC courses are more rowdy than ever, Gravel bikes are more capable than ever, and Road tubeless is now commonplace. All of these factors come into play when designing tires, as each category has evolved.

I’ve heard that leaving newly installed tires at max psi overnight can help stretch the casing, giving full volume and a better ride feel. Is this actually the case?

Sort of. While it’s not a hard and fast rule, tires do tend to stretch in the first few days if left at max pressure. Some casings stretch more than others, based on construction, and also based on how high that max pressure is. Some casings are more elastic than others, and will shrink back slightly when aired back down.

In general though, stretch is a part of the break-in process, and tires tend to be more consistent (in both size and grip) after a few days on the bike.

If you had to choose between sticky tires or aggressive tread pattern for your typical riding, where would you bias? I realize we get to have both, but humor me.

My answer is actually a question… What type of terrain do you ride? If you are riding super slick terrain, then compound might matter more. If you are riding drier terrain, the tread might matter more.

Sometimes, an aggressive tread pattern requires a sticky compound, by design. If you have a spike type profile, you’ll have very little surface area on each cleat. If you don’t have a sticky compound, the tire will get unpredictable, since that small surface area is more dependent on the compound when it touches rocks or roots.

On the flip side, a lower profile tread has a lot of surface area, so often times compound may affect the feel less in certain terrain. Bottom line, as you mentioned, it’s a good thing we don’t have to choose.

Many high-level racers are still running relatively narrow rims compared to the broader market, why do you think that is?

Weight, availability, and sponsors could all be factors. Some riders may have trained for years on the older standards, and just prefer that. As trends in the bike industry go, oftentimes a slight correction is made, once a trend reaches the peak. We may be seeing that a bit here.

Do you worry about rolling resistance in a downhill-focused tire, or is grip the only concern?

In DH, grip is definitely king, with durability and stability following close behind. That said, these races are won and lost by super close margins, so we absolutely take the reduction of rolling resistance into account, and design that into every model. As the makers of the fastest rolling bicycle tire ever made (Corsa Speed TLR), this metric is something we refuse to sacrifice.

Does your company have any programs in place to recycle tires or generally reduce the waste associated with production?

Yes, in fact we have both, with a dedicated ESG team driving both initiatives forward. Vittoria owns our factory, which is widely known in the industry to have the highest level of quality control and reduction of waste. Aside from that, we recently launched a program to collect used tires for recycling and material repurposing.

Historically we’ve heard that tire availability is the thing holding back further development on 36” (or other large wheel size) bike designs, any plans to push that envelope?

None at the moment. While the 36er is interesting, and I’ll never say never, we have been hitting it hard to increase performance for the more common tire and wheel sizes.






What is your favorite tire in your lineup, and why?

I thought we’re not supposed to pick favorites!? Don’t let the others know, but Verdict 2.5 takes the cake for me personally. Living in Bellingham, Washington, I need a tire that augers through loamy soil, flings mud and provides the bite needed when things get steeeeeep. The Verdict 2.5 shines when you’re riding terrain that shouldn’t be ridable or when you need just a bit more knob height to keep things in check at the bottom of a catch. I’m also a fan of the full 2.5 volume of the Verdict. I ride it on the front of my Enduro for most of the year and front and rear twelve months of the year on my Repeater.

It seems as though tubeless technology has plateaued a bit over the past few years, do you see any major changes on the horizon?

I’m all for game-changing innovations and we’re always searching for the next big jump in product technology. We have many hopes and dreams on the drawing board right now, but time will show which come to fruition. The reality is that it’s pretty difficult to beat the durability/grip of the compounds we’re all working with at the moment and even more difficult to beat good ole fashioned air when it comes to overall tire compliance and damping.

Where do you stand on inserts? How do they factor into new tire development?

Ah, the great insert debate. Remember when we used to argue about wheel sizes? I personally don’t use inserts and there are a few reasons why. The first being I live in Bellingham where the smallest rocks tend to be the size of a couch. Nothing sharp or mean to damage rims or pinch flat on. Second, I like to consider myself a gentle rider. I don’t smash through terrain and tend to spend half my trail time unweighting my bike. That said, rowdier riders than I certainly use inserts here in Bellingham and many do it solely for the ride feel. I guess I simply don’t push hard enough in corners.

Unless I go to Whistler or areas of California or Colorado, I always run a TCS Light tire with SG2 puncture protection on the front and waiver back and forth between a TCS Light and TCS Tough tire on the rear. Lastly, I simply don’t enjoy dealing with installing and dealing with inserts. I’d likely consider inserts if I lived in a place with toothy rocks. I’d also likely run inserts if I raced and needed the peace of mind to be able to finish a stage with a flat tire. I typically don’t even run inserts on my e-bike, but it is worth noting that sometimes I will when I go to a place like Whistler where fast steeps end in rocky bottoms.

I’ve heard that leaving newly installed tires at max psi overnight can help stretch the casing, giving full volume and a better ride feel. Is this actually the case?

Absolutely. Our tires typically stretch out to their final size after about a week of normal inflation and riding. However, inflating them to the max end of the tire pressure rating overnight will condense that one week down to about 24 hours. I always do this when mounting new tires. Never inflate your tire beyond its maximum tire pressure rating.

If you had to choose between sticky tires or aggressive tread pattern for your typical riding, where would you bias? I realize we get to have both, but humor me.

That’s a tough question because I live in a place with wet, rooty, steep terrain that is best paired with a tire that is both sticky AND has an aggressive tread. That said, there ends up being an easy answer if I use deductive reasoning. For my average ride, I’d love to have the stickiest tires possible but could get away with a less sticky compound if the tread is aggressive and meaty. Even if it’s the stickiest compound in the world, there are certain lines that I would not want to ride on a low-knob tread. Aggressive tread for the win.

Many high-level racers are still running relatively narrow rims compared to the broader market, why do you think that is?

Two simple reasons. Weight and additional protection to the rim/tire. Narrower rims will reduce tire volume, which in turn sucks the sidewall in more. Casing width is more affected by rim width than actual tread width. This means there is more tread overhanging the rest of the casing and therefore provides more protection to the sidewall. When a single flat will make-or-break even a multi-day race, that additional protection can make a difference. It’s important to note that racers don’t always choose product based on a singular focus of what will optimize performance. They don’t need to be the fastest in any one specific section of trail. They want to be the fastest at the end of the day and weight, durability, traction, comfort, etc. all play into their product choice decision making.

Do you worry about rolling resistance in a downhill-focused tire, or is grip the only concern?

If the tire is designed to go downhill, I could care less about how fast it rolls. All it has to do is make me feel like a better rider than I am and traction tends to be the limiting factor. Of course, that would change if I raced at all or found myself riding flatter terrain. I’m thankful to live in a place where the main thing needed is traction. As much of it as possible. That said, we once tested a tire with 15mm tall side knobs and decided it was a bit too much once we realized we had to pedal downhill in order to simply carry trail speed. There’s always a limit.

Does your company have any programs in place to recycle tires or generally reduce the waste associated with production?

We don’t currently have a WTB-specific program in place to recycle tires, but we are absolutely working on one. WTB is always working towards a more sustainable future and how our products meet the end of their life is a huge part of that process. Until then, I encourage everybody to talk with their local bike shop about the options for recycling tires in their area. Regional programs are often the most successful when it comes to tire recycling.

Historically we’ve heard that tire availability is the thing holding back further development on 36” (or other large wheel size) bike designs, any plans to push that envelope?

I would say the opposite. We’ve created drawings for larger tire diameters. We’ve already made larger diameter tires. We’ve even made custom rims and bikes to test said tires. None of it moves forward though until bike companies are willing and able to try out something as drastic as a new tire/wheel size.






What is your favorite tire in your lineup, and why?

Some of the crew have different favorites (roadies...), but a lot of us prefer the Pinner ATC for most trail riding. It’s predictable, fast & versatile. Strong enough for some chill DH laps, and fast enough to pedal around all day.

It seems as though tubeless technology has plateaued a bit over the past few years, do you see any major changes on the horizon?

As far as tubeless tech goes, we don’t see too much changing other than brands across the board improving air retention & wheel/tire compatibility. The standard of quality has become much higher for what products the market can accept.

Where do you stand on inserts? How do they factor into new tire development?

In the past few years, we’ve been researching tire inserts from many brands. Certain tire inserts can be a valuable tool for some riders, there's no doubt about it. Depending on your preference & terrain, some riders could easily justify the added weight for the performance gains.
In recent years, riders have been pushing the limits of every component on the bike; in general, tires are usually one of the first components to fail in the system. With the adoption of tire inserts, riders can push harder & faster which raises the ceiling of performance. We design our tires to be able to withstand the rigors of modern-day riding. This goes for DH, enduro, trail, XC, and even gravel riding.

Tires inserts are another great component riders can use to tune their bike to meet their needs.

I’ve heard that leaving newly installed tires at max psi overnight can help stretch the casing, giving full volume and a better ride feel. Is this actually the case?

Yes, inflating the tire to the max pressure for 24 hours or overnight will absolutely stretch the carcass and increase the tire volume slightly. The tire section width increases 0.5-1.0mm depending on the tire construction. After 24 hours at max inflation pressure, the tire is considered “broken-in” and will be at its largest volume. The tire can also be considered broken-in after the first ride. When a tire is broken-in, the cords in the tire are at equilibrium and no longer have any prestress from the vulcanization process. Whether or not breaking in a tire improves the ride feel, we can’t say for sure, it’s all subjective. It makes sense that it would feel marginally better since the volume has increased.

We play a large part in writing/revising industry standards and because of this, we’ve done extensive testing to understand how tire size & shape change at different pressures and time periods.

If you had to choose between sticky tires or aggressive tread pattern for your typical riding, where would you bias? I realize we get to have both, but humor me.

Interesting question! We have a difference of opinion on this and has inspired enough debate to plan future testing on this topic.

One of our engineers believes that you can have a great performing tire with an aggressive tread pattern and a relatively not-sticky compound, similar to that of our XC tires. The reason being that the tire would still roll well and the pattern would still grip well with mechanical traction and knob deformation. Another engineer would prefer to have an XC or light trail pattern with a relatively stickier compound for his typical riding because he imagines it will be more predictable.

Many high-level racers are still running relatively narrow rims compared to the broader market, why do you think that is?

Many DH pros feel that narrower rims corner better than wider rims. A narrower rim reduces the contact patch width meaning you need to lean the tire more before the shoulder knobs contact the ground. A lighter weight rim will definitely make a more maneuverable tire and wheel combination.

Do you worry about rolling resistance in a downhill-focused tire, or is grip the only concern?

Generally, rolling resistance isn’t the highest priority for a DH focused tire, but it’s not completely disregarded. For a given application, we always consider all the performance characteristics that are important and design accordingly. Every component in the tire plays a role in rolling resistance, grip, and compliance, so it’s about managing the whole assembly to meet our customers’ needs.

Does your company have any programs in place to recycle tires or generally reduce the waste associated with production?

Yes, environmental impact is always a priority when considering how Kenda can improve going forward. Reusing rubber waste has been a practice at the factories for decades, where a compound formulation has a certain percentage of reclaimed rubber of a similar type.

Historically we’ve heard that tire availability is the thing holding back further development on 36” (or other large wheel size) bike designs, any plans to push that envelope?

If we had a serious customer that wanted a 32” or 36” tire, we would absolutely make it.






What is your favorite tire in your lineup, and why?

Since its debut, I’ve been on Magic Mary’s almost all the time, so I’ll go with that. Next to its versatility and adaptability, I’m also very used to how the pattern performs in all conditions which makes it a no brainer to put it on every bike I own. In my opinion, a lot of riders underestimate how important or beneficial it is to get used to one specific tire; this vastly defines how your bike behaves. The more familiar you are with your tires, the more predictable your bike is going to behave, no matter the conditions!

It seems as though tubeless technology has plateaued a bit over the past few years, do you see any major changes on the horizon?

Although the technology itself might not have changed a lot in the past few years, we’ve strived to make tubeless tires more accessible and easier to set up since the debut of our TLE technology. I’d say the biggest upcoming improvements are going to be seen at the tire/rim interface. This is still a weak point of the system and I think there’s a lot of room for improvement.

Where do you stand on inserts? How do they factor into new tire development?

As Schwalbe has basically inspired, potentially starting the trend for inserts with the Procore system back in 2013, we’ve always been interested in new insert developments and even helped some manufacturers to develop or improve their system. It has been a constant topic for us in racing as well, however we see a significant decline in the usage of inserts among racers for various reasons.

First and foremost, it’s the ratio of added protection to added weight. If we take our Super DH casing as the benchmark, it is possible to achieve the same snakebite protection by using a Super Gravity casing combined with an insert. However, the additional weight and even cost grow proportionally, and you’d be better off by just using a Super DH casing right away. This doesn’t factor in the burping resistance but getting back to the second question, this is a matter of improving the tire/rim interface.

Secondly, especially high-volume inserts reduce or at least alter the available tire-travel a lot. Strangely, we’ve observed that with inserts our racers tend to have more rim strikes and feel like they’re reaching the end of tire travel much quicker. I mean, I don’t know anyone who’s using polymer dampers in their suspension that are filling up to 50% of the travel.

Furthermore, due to the geometry of some inserts, forces during big hits aren’t directed to the strong rim flange but instead to the very vulnerable rim well. This has led to some cracks and blown up rims in the past which is why nowadays many athletes are going back to insert-less setups.

Although it might sound contradictory, inserts are great if you’re not racing World Cups and simply want to protect your rims. We have no plans to develop tires around inserts and are much more focused on combining the benefits of both systems.

I’ve heard that leaving newly installed tires at max psi overnight can help stretch the casing, giving full volume and a better ride feel. Is this actually the case?

That is absolutely true and actually our standard procedure with all racing teams! If you’re after the best performance from day one, you should adopt this and store your tires for 24hrs at the indicated max pressure. However, please check the indicated max pressure for the rim as well, some rim manufacturers only allow rather low pressures.

If you had to choose between sticky tires or aggressive tread pattern for your typical riding, where would you bias? I realize we get to have both, but humor me.

I’d absolutely go for sticky tires! Good rubber is king and self-clearing can be compensated by speed.

Many high-level racers are still running relatively narrow rims compared to the broader market, why do you think that is?

This is really all about rider preference and finding the balance between tire stiffness, compliance, and shape. While some riders may be searching for a more compliant setup with narrower rims, there’re others which prefer the precision and control you get with wider rims. There’s no right or wrong, although the nowadays standard 30mm rim is a great all-rounder.

Do you worry about rolling resistance in a downhill-focused tire, or is grip the only concern?

This is heavily dependent on the track. Simply put, on tracks with a slower average speed or slow key sections a tire with low rolling resistance would be better while on faster or very technical tracks, you should opt for a more controllable tire. It is really all about carrying speed! As an example, for many years riders opted for faster rolling tires in Leogang in order to have good speed on the motorway. However, at the speeds riders reach on the motorway, the entry speed is key as once you hit around 35km/h, aerodynamics are far more important than the rolling resistance.

Does your company have any programs in place to recycle tires or generally reduce the waste associated with production?

If you haven’t seen it yet, we’ve started our tire recycling program in Germany last year after having already established a tube recycling program back in 2015. After decades of research, we have succeeded in developing an innovative and holistic tire recycling process without any waste. Instead of incinerating used bicycle tires, we are now the first bicycle manufacturer using old tires to make new ones. It has seen vast success and the number of tires we’re getting back really goes to show how desperately we needed such a system. For us it has been a huge success and we can’t wait to push it much more.

Historically we’ve heard that tire availability is the thing holding back further development on 36” (or other large wheel size) bike designs, any plans to push that envelope?

I’d say that in our case, that’s not the reason why you haven’t seen or heard much more about 36” tires. We surely did some research in this direction, but tires are not the only relevant components when it comes to new wheel diameters.






What is your favorite tire in your lineup, and why?

Krpytotal Fr DH SuperSoft and Krypto Re DH Soft on the Park Bike and the big eMTB. This pattern combination has such a wide range of applications on a variety of soils and conditions that it is the perfect all-round combination to handle most conditions from spring to autumn.
The combination of Soft and SuperSoft in DH casing is the pure sweet spot between grip, safety, rolling resistance and mileage.

It seems as though tubeless technology has plateaued a bit over the past few years, do you see any major changes on the horizon?

We do see an upcoming trend for TPU tubes besides the standard butyl tubes. For the moment, our opinion is that tubeless is a great compromise in handling characteristics, weight, and puncture protection with the downside of more extensive maintenance.

Where do you stand on inserts? How do they factor into new tire development?

Inserts are not a focus topic for us. Our focus is to develop a quality tire with high puncture resistance to avoid the extra baggage.

I’ve heard that leaving newly installed tires at max psi overnight can help stretch the casing, giving full volume and a better ride feel. Is this actually the case?

This is true. A tire grows a little over its lifetime and under higher pressures. As the carcass is fabric embedded in the rubber, there are minor effects where the material “settles in”. If you are sensible on the behavior and the feeling of your bike that can be a noticeable change.

If you had to choose between sticky tires or aggressive tread pattern for your typical riding, where would you bias? I realize we get to have both, but humor me.

For the average rider, we would prefer the “sticky” compound. Sticky compounds provides grip even under low speeds. If you choose chunky treads, you want to create mechanical grip where you need load, compression, aggressive which pros/expert riders may choose.

Many high-level racers are still running relatively narrow rims compared to the broader market, why do you think that is?

We see most often our Enduro & DH racers are riding ~30mm rims and are running our 2.4 tires, so here we cannot confirm the observation. For XC, it seems to be a little different that riders are still preferring 25mm wheels, but we see that this is also going to change in the near future when they switch to wider tires.

Do you worry about rolling resistance in a downhill-focused tire, or is grip the only concern?

Definitely, rolling resistance is very important, especially on tracks like Leogang where you have long fire- roads, and you are transferring from one technical bit to another. In those bits, rolling resistance is very important to keep the momentum so that the riders can save energy. It can be challenging to balance high-grip level and fast-rolling characteristics, but our tires are just that.

Historically we’ve heard that tire availability is the thing holding back further development on 36” (or other large wheel size) bike designs, any plans to push that envelope?

We see those concepts or small series bikes from time to time, but now we see it as a very, very small factor. At the moment, we are not planning to enlarge our portfolio towards 36’’ options. But we are observing trends or tendencies towards different dimensions very carefully and will act and adapt our strategy if necessary.

Author Info:
dariodigiulio avatar

Member since Dec 25, 2016
194 articles

293 Comments
  • 271 3
 Love it! This is one of the best articles in PB in a while--loved being able to compare their answers with each other. Cheers!
  • 229 2
 Do you know why bikes don't stand up on their own? They are two tired.
  • 19 12
 @racecase: Tell us your a dad without telling us your'e a dad.

However, having never tried Continentals before, I must say I'm am stoked on the set of Kryptotals I am running. Originally, I bought them due to a feature other MFGs couldn't match - Availability. Glad I gave them a try. Trippy sidewall pattern is a bonus
  • 6 0
 Agreed I like the different reasons for the grip vs tread question.
  • 56 0
 @suspended-flesh: I am a dad. I am also tired.
  • 8 1
 @Muckal: Me too, me too.
  • 1 0
 @Muckal: Just one tired? You're on the wrong site
  • 5 0
 @DizzyNinja: thanks to Oropax I am only one tired. My wife is two tired.
  • 2 0
 @Muckal: I am a dad that has week old twins...I am too tired.
  • 122 2
 Dear tire mfrs (Kenda and conti mostly).

Make the sticky tires in the lighter casings. 1000gr, nice soft compound would be great. I really don't want to lug around 1200-1400 dongers to get good rubber. Pinner ATC needs a softer option. Same with KrRe lighter one.

Specy and Maxxis do it. Y'all can too. Plus the softer tires wear out faster which means I have to buy them more often.
  • 23 0
 Seconded. Tyre companies should focus efforts on making the best tyre at 1kg for a 29er. Was about to order some Kryptotals at the weekend until I saw 1240g for the soft version. Fuck that.
  • 12 4
 @jaame: thirded. : ) why I have settled on the Bonty XR4 Team Issue. weighs 800g in 29 x 2.4 with grippy rubber.
  • 27 0
 On the flip side I've been wanting faster roller / longer wearing compounds in the dh casings. Prefer the feel of the heavier casing but the soft compounds don't last long with all the slabs and hard terrain out here, leaving you with a tire that's somehow not worn but missing half the knobs after a couple rides.
  • 3 1
 Difficult to please everyone!
  • 8 0
 @artistformlyknowasdan: you should look into Conti's DH casing, soft compound. Less rolling resistance than the Maxxis and so far durability seems great
  • 3 0
 @souknaysh: They looks promising but i have to go through all the specialized tires i bought on sale first. I like to stock up on tires when i find some i like
  • 2 0
 @gmoss: does it measure out to 2.4? I stopped using Bontrager tires because they’re consistently WAY undersized.
  • 5 4
 And give us a 2.5 option for the Krypt family Smile I'd go a bit bigger than 2.4 on front but can't make myself switch to 2.6 Smile
  • 5 0
 @catamplifier: I have a 2.4 - they are pretty burly without being a Plus+ tire. I live in a cave riding 27.5s, so maybe your mileage may vary.
  • 1 0
 @mtallman2: I ran a few different Maxxis over a few years in 2.35, DHR II and Forekaster, and ran a 2.6 Rekon on the front. This tire is wider than the 2.35 Maxxis and not as wide as the Rekon, so I would say it is close. Been on these for a a few years and run them on a set of 27 and 30mm internal wheels.
  • 3 2
 @suspended-flesh: tx, got a new 2.4 pair
but would be great to have an option anyway )
  • 4 1
 With softer tyres: brake less and learn how to skid as less as possible, so you can both save some brake pads and tyres.
(and you ride faster)
Cheap guy trick Wink
  • 4 0
 @gmoss: The XR4 rubber is pretty much equivalent to Maxxis Dual Compound. Fine in dry conditions but I wouldn't consider it grippy compared to other options.
  • 1 0
 Yep, the Kr trail(lighter one) I currently have as a front is only grippy when it's aired down to danger low.
  • 5 0
 @artistformlyknowasdan:
Conti offers the "Soft" compound for the Kryptotal Rear, it's not all that soft actually, rolls fast and wears well!
  • 2 0
 @jaame:
they roll surprisingly well though. Worth a try. It seems like a lot of people (Pinkbike employees included) are using them for aggressive trail use.
  • 9 0
 Magic Mary in Super Trail casing Ultra Soft compound is a dream.
  • 3 0
 I heard a rumor that Conti is coming out with Trail Soft tires soon. Enduro Soft Rear is nice. Want Trail Super Soft Front.
  • 1 0
 @ranchitup: maybe. The knobs are much softer when I put a twist on them, compared to the Maxxis I had. Doesn't matter the compound for me anyway, they are an all year tire for me now, vs me running aummer and winter tires, front and rear before. One and done. They don't have to work for you, but they work for me. We don't get to ride much in slop, but they do as well as any tire I have ran in soft/muddy conditions. Nothing really grabs in wet red clay, slick roots and rocks that I have found. And if there is one, not enough ride time in it to warrant.
  • 1 0
 @gmoss: I don't find the XR4's rubber grippy
  • 1 0
 Lightweight, indestructible, super grippy and fast rolling, if ye please!
My Kenda Nevegal 2 at 27.5x2.4 (rear) weighs around 800g, and I had zero issues in a year. No flats, fair wear. And I do like it fast and rough.
When do you really need a 1.4kg tire?
  • 2 0
 Agreed with OP. Schwalbe have been promising SuperTrail Ultra Soft tyre options for about a year now, but they are yet to materialise as far as I can tell. They're even listed as an SKU on order forms
  • 98 2
 So tire companies, that do not make inserts, do not recommend them, and those, that do - do. Shocking.
  • 46 0
 Gripping Observation
  • 52 0
 Insert joke here.
  • 6 0
 An anonymous "state of the sport" style rider survey regarding components and tech would be fascinating, and insert usage would be a great question.
  • 1 0
 They can't both be right?
  • 4 2
 Not sure if the tire companies realise that there are riders that weight over 100kg.
  • 66 0
 Real tiring interviews
  • 43 0
 Tread lightly, a lot of folks around here have an aggressive pattern.
  • 20 0
 Retreading over the same question again and again, though easy for me to keep a bead on, lead to my attention losing traction
  • 29 0
 Don't be a knob
  • 8 0
 Must be low rolling resistance in here, cause this is going downhill quickly
  • 6 0
 It will do in a pinch.
  • 6 2
 @Snowytrail: insert puns here
  • 4 0
 Ugh, you need to retire.
  • 3 1
 The lack of 36” development left me feeling deflated.
  • 1 0
 @Chief2slo: 36" is going to be "The next big ring" lol
  • 44 0
 I really think there’s room for higher prices, at the moment I can still get tires for my semi truck for a little less than my mountain bike. I’d like to see that gap closed. #sarcasm
  • 1 0
 American Classic makes some decent options for $50. Very simple catalogue of options, so you don't spend hours deciding on a casing/tread/width combo
  • 38 0
 Dear CST - since you actually make many brand of tires who is your favorite child??
  • 9 0
 ha... yeah... aren't they making MAXXIS?
  • 16 0
 @valrock: Cheng Shin IS Maxxis. Same company.
  • 7 0
 Love my CST BFT! Buying the CST tires from them direct, is a lot cheaper than the tires they make for the "namebrand" ones.
  • 9 0
 @gtrguy: Precisely. One did not buy the other nor does one "own" the other, your favorite tires have always been produced by Cheng Shin Rubber Co. Its an downmarket - upmarket brand thing, like Toyota - Lexus
  • 3 0
 @ryanandrewrogers: There is a CST (or CST sponsored) WC XC racing team isn't there? I wonder though whether there is a WC MTB team that rides Tektro brakes and not TRP brakes.
  • 3 1
 @gtrguy: how do you buy from cst direct? what is their name for a dhr ii and/or assegai?
  • 4 0
 @vinay: Haha I don't quite keep up with WCXC but the image of a CST/Tektro team gives me a chuckle. Maybe some Light Bicycle carbon rims, an Alibaba frame, and some of Suntour's high-end stuff to finish the kit.
  • 4 0
 @ryanandrewrogers: Just looked it up, there is no more CST team indeed.

www.pinkbike.com/news/the-complete-guide-to-the-2023-world-cup-xc-teams.html

(The CST PostNL Bafang MTB Racing Team). Not sure how Bafang is involved (which is a pedal assist motor as far as I know) but I think it was a pretty good team with the likes of Anne Tauber and Yana Belomonia on board. Yana Belomonia has won the overall in 2017 and I think Anne Tauber has been on the podium a good few times too. I don't know much about Light Bicycle and Alibaba, but Suntour is consistently supplying to athletes performing at the sharp end of everywhere between XC and the Red Bull Rampage. They're only losing in the Pinkbike comment section it seems and if I were them, I couldn't care less.
  • 4 3
 Well they don’t make Vittoria, Conti, or Specialized. Maybe that’s why those 3 are the best.
  • 2 0
 @Gnaarls: Although made by CST, those tires are made and sold under their brand name. The CST themselves you'd be interested in trying are most likely the BFT or Rock Hawk.
  • 1 5
flag valrock (Mar 29, 2023 at 16:38) (Below Threshold)
 so CST is CHina made? What it stands for then? China Surprise Tire Big Grin I mean don't get me wrong... USA shoot itself in the ass moving all the manufacturing into communist dystopia. I would like to buy NA made... can someone who already done research tell me which brands manufacture in Canada\USA?
  • 3 1
 @valrock: Idiot alert. Chen Shin Rubber Company (Maxxis+CST) is based and manufactures in Taiwan. Taiwan is a Democratic and Capitalist country that also produces Specialized, Yeti, Norco, Commencal, Canyon, etc. bikes.
  • 2 0
 @Frank191: Vittoria is made in Thailand, Conti is made in Germany, Specialized is made in Vietnam (at a scooter/moped tire factory I might add).
  • 2 0
 @ryanandrewrogers: The PRC, the official USA foreign policy stance, and John Cena would all beg to differ with your description of Taiwan. ;-)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=z88zeQ25pjQ&ab_channel=GuardianNews
  • 2 0
 @ryanandrewrogers: Sometimes people try to assemble bikes out of components all made in Europe, North America etc. I wonder what an all Taiwanese bike would be like. Shouldn't be too hard and would make for a very good and also fairly affordable bike. Manitou suspension, Pipedream frame, Microshift gearing...

@valrock: Compared to Europe (the UK, and Germany in particular) and Asia, North American brands seem to produce relatively few consumer grade stuff. Super expensive CNCd stems that don't perform one bit better than a Taiwanese forged Spank stem, yes they do that. Maybe I'm missing some brands on my radar, but the ones producing stuff for the regular rider seems rare. KMC probably has another chain factory there but other than that?
  • 2 0
 @thekaiser: Dropping my apology video next week #我爱中国
  • 1 2
 @ryanandrewrogers: call it - Alert... Idiot video Big Grin
  • 1 0
 @ryanandrewrogers: handmade Continental is made in Europe. Others in Azie
  • 45 9
 How about a question for maxxis: why can't you make a tire casing that doesn't warp during install?
  • 15 0
 they don't, it's a manufacturing defect and will be warrantied
  • 4 1
 Only had 2 of those over the years. Both warrantied
  • 10 6
 They answered that question. Rubber stretches. If your force a tyre on with a tyre lever that corner of the tyre is going to be stretched more than the rest giving you that wobble. Leave you tyres at max pressure and the rest of the tyre will stretch to match or just make sure you have the tyre bead in the well in the centre of the rim and clear of the valve and you won’t have to force it on.
  • 5 0
 @thenotoriousmic: then why does only their rubber stretch? I have only ever had 1 other tire brand "stretch" like a maxxis
  • 3 1
 btw, never had an issue with their DH casings, but had lots of warped tires in EXOish casings. Somehow the warp even after a few weeks of riding.
  • 2 0
 @Tr011: it happens to Schwalbes also. I've also read about warped Contis. I have never had such problem myself, though.
  • 2 0
 @Muckal: Contis consistently did this for me years ago, both road and mtb. I have heard they solved this issue, but I have yet to go back to the brand.
  • 2 0
 @catamplifier: Conti Protection warped from a little jump for me, the lighter the tire, the easier it happens
  • 1 0
 It would surprise me if the new Conti's warped. They are a PITA to install, but solid when they are on.
  • 2 2
 @JohSch: the thinner the casing the more it will stretch when it’s forced on. A thicker DH casing is going to hold up better to someone ragging it on with tyre levers. Someone needs to do a tutorial when it comes to fitting tyres. With a tubeless rim and a tubeless tyre you shouldn’t need tyre levers at all, as long as you have the tyre bead in the rim well in the centre of the rim and clear of the valve you’ll get your tyre on easily with just your hands and you won’t need to use tyre levers at all.
  • 2 0
 For those saying this is due to using tire levers...

I've had this happen to 4 Maxxis tires, all installed without levers. One had ~15mm of runout. I'm finding that using levers is actually better (being gentle, of course), because you are then pulling on the bead only and not the sidewall itself. The sidewalls on Maxxis EXO casing tires are super flimsy, and stretch pretty easily.
  • 1 0
 ive got a shorty i'm trying to deal with warranty right abouts now..(DD/Maxxgrip).we will see how good their warranty is : )
  • 30 0
 Maxxis please make some harder dual compound dh & dd casing tires. Sticky rubber is awesome, but in peak dusty bike park season I’d much rather have a harder, longer lasting rear tire than a $130+ sticky 3C tire that’s toasted after 1 weekend.
  • 2 0
 Conti is the savior for these insane prices. Picking dh casing up for $70 and they've impressed me so far.
  • 8 1
 Aggressor 2.5 DD in dual compound. Rolls fast, surprisingly grippy even in the wet, side knobs have just enough flex to allow a more predictable drift than a DHR2. Usually around $85 USD.
  • 8 0
 100% agree. Bring back 27.5" and 29" hard compound DH tires.
  • 5 0
 Need a max grip double down high roller and all the current range of DH / DD tyres to be available in max terra for the rear.
  • 3 0
 This! Unless I'm racing I don't need a max grip tire.
  • 3 0
 I thought they were working on a bike park edition tire
That’ would basically be bringing back dual to DH casing
  • 1 0
 @stormracing: okay I’m not crazy. I swear I heard something similar (i think sea otter last year) about doing a bike park tire. But I can’t remember where and haven’t heard anything since.
Fingers crossed it’s true
  • 1 0
 @brycepiwek: alright I just found a screenshot on my phone of it. It was on Pinkbike here where I saw it and it’s talking about a bike park specific tire
  • 2 0
 @stormracing: pics or it didn’t happen!
  • 1 0
 @hypermoto: Agressors are brilliant and underrated but unavailable where I live and I've never seen a DD available online. Currently have a 2.5 exo with insert out back.
  • 1 0
 @hypermoto: This is (Aggressor 2.5 DD in dual compound) my Go-To rear tire right now!! Been really happy with it, especially compared to the Nobby Nic 2.6 it replaced that may as well have been a semi-slick.
  • 2 0
 @dsciulli19: I love the ride feel of Aggressor 2.5 DD as well but I kept having to plug them right around the bead even with Cushcore and 26psi. I have switched to Conti and the difference is amazing. On one bike I have the Xynotal Enduro Rear without Cushcore (which feels just like an Aggressor but with more damping) and the other Kryptotal DH Super soft with Cushcore and even with some very hard rock smashes and bottom outs they have held up perfect.
  • 2 0
 @jessemeyers: you must be sending 'er real hard like. I usually set up my rear tire on my hardtail around 24psi w/ cushcore and my local terrain is pretty rocky. Thx for the suggestion on the Conti Xynotals, will have to keep them in mind for my next tire!
  • 1 0
 @forevertwosix: that’s it! Thanks!!
  • 2 0
 @stormracing @forevertwosix @TEAM-ROBOT

Maxxis bike park specs are available now in Assegai, DHF, and DHR. All 29" for the moment. They are in stock on the Maxxis e-store if you can't get them through your local shop.
  • 1 0
 @ARonBurgundy: you rock. Appreciate that!
  • 2 0
 @ARonBurgundy: any chance you could send a link. Idk why but I can’t find any
  • 2 0
 @ARonBurgundy: SICK!!! Thanks, Aaron! Love that you're reading the comments and checking in with us.
  • 3 0
 @stormracing: no problem! Here's a link to the DHR II: shop.maxxis.com/collections/mountain/products/minion-dhr-ii?variant=40404740636807

The part numbers are:

DHR - TB00368500
DHF - TB00435600
Assegai - TB00435500
  • 2 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: I'm just tryna stay off the kill list! Great job on that other podcast, by the way!
  • 2 0
 @ARonBurgundy: Thank you! Glad you enjoyed the podcast.

And seriously, thanks for the part numbers. Love this. Weirdly, I actually won one of the new 29" wire bead 2.4" DHR bikepark tires at a race last season and was scratching my head wondering what this new and different tire is. Hadn't seen any press for these yet, so I had no idea what it was or where it came from, and wondered if it was maybe a blem or proto. It didn't come with any packaging, so it was a mystery. So ever since I've been saving that tire like it's made of gold for the time when my TB96800100 dual compound Minion DHF finally wears out. I'm so glad to know these bike park tires are a standard production model. Woohoo!! Don't need to be a tire hoarder/prepper anymore.

P.S. that race was the West Fest Enduro at Port Gamble, WA, a race that I was able to help organize with an amazing team of Evergreen volunteers doing great work at Port Gamble. So THANKS MAXXIS FOR SPONSORING LOCAL RACING!!!! www.evergreenws.org/westfest
  • 3 0
 @ARonBurgundy: man, I seriously appreciate that! It just slipped past me but now I know and really do appreciate all that info! I’m very blessed with the opportunity to ride bike park 7 days a week in the Summer and tired of trashing $100 tires every single week. This is incredibly awesome now being able to find these longer lasting DH tires!
  • 1 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: you are welcome! We are proud of our long history of supporting local racing and grassroots teams and riders.

I'll be interested to see what you think of the bike park spec.
  • 30 0
 No Mike Bears?
  • 18 1
 This could have been an interesting question:

Why does a mountain bike tire cost more than a tire for a car?
  • 14 2
 How many car tires are produced compared to a 2.5 WT maxxgrip DD tho?
  • 33 3
 More expensive compared to which car tires exactly? I’d argue that the car equivalent of a classic maxxis 3C minion is something like a Michelin Cup Sport 2 in terms of level of performance which is close to $2k each. Not a $130 bridgestone from walmart. The equivalent mtb tire of that is probably a mike bear tire
  • 9 1
 I think its appropriate to compare them to track tires, like Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R or Michelin Pilot Sport Cup R, which are 400€+ per piece.
  • 7 1
 Depends what tires you put on your car. If you want R-comp rubber that's trashed in a few hundred track miles, these tires are $500+ each, significantly more than race-ready MTB rubber.

If you're putting pedestrian car tires on, these are more comparable to a $15 CST tire than a $120 Maxxis tire when you're looking at quality, consistency, and performance.
  • 9 0
 @GTscoob: true for car tires but MX tires use a lot more material than a bike tire and yet they are cheaper or similarly priced, that is for a proper MX tire so something comparable to the Mtb tires we are discussing.
  • 2 0
 Other good points here, but I think it's ultimately an economy of scale issue.
  • 7 0
 Because you're willing to pay that much
  • 3 2
 Because they're produced in far lower quantities
  • 3 1
 Because it costs a lot to support race teams and influencers. Simple as that.
  • 5 0
 @Steadite: mtb budgets are dwarfed by the cost of Mx/SX. Now the volumes could and economy of scale would also be the answer I would pick. MX product range usually have 4/5tires, few sizes per tire, rarely more than one compound per thread patern. Michelin whole MX and Enduro tire offering has probably less SKU than what Maxxis has just for the DHF pattern.
  • 1 0
 2 wheel vehicle tires have to do more than 4 wheel vehicle tires. MTB tires are dirt cheap compared to even commuter moto tires.
  • 13 1
 BRING BACK THE FAST ROLLING JUDGE

Seriously, my favorite rear tire ever. Bombproof DH casing + slow wearing rubber and good efficiency. I could take it on flat trails or pedally enduro stages and still have enough support and traction for DH riding.
  • 1 0
 This. They lasted so long.
  • 3 0
 Ive been using the 2.6 fast rolling trail boss (it measures more like a 2.5 but has proper side knobs), and while it can definitely hang with the judge in terms of grip and roll, they only last about 2 months before theyre looking like larry david.
  • 8 1
 I support what this dude has to say. WTB is so under rated as a tire company.
  • 5 1
 michelin dh34 bikepark. this.
  • 2 0
 @Lagr1980: the only downside of the bikepark version is the lighter casing...wish it would be proper DH
  • 1 0
 I agree , BRING IT BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why did it disappear!
  • 1 0
 You should try our Gravity casing. Double wall, they roll super fast (first thing people comment on) & the woven layer holds air super well. If you have a problem or don't like them for whatever, you can return them within 30 days for a refund.
  • 3 0
 Or Bring back The SwampThings
  • 1 0
 @adrennan: i agree when u could get them for $75 but at $100 im going with other options
  • 13 2
 why was Continental the only manufacturer not asked about recycling/waste minimization?

it's an issue that's important to me, and while most answers are fluff, I like seeing the responses to know whether it's something actually valued by the brand.
  • 8 0
 They were asked, but there was no response.
  • 3 0
 @dariodigiulio: They couldn't have just said, "No, but we're working on something, mumble, mumble", like most of the rest of the companies?
  • 14 0
 They use their old conti tires to catch dolphins, and then use them as a firewood substitute to roast the dolphin meat. Then throw all of it away and go get burgers.
  • 1 0
 TBH all the answers to that question, except for Schwalbe, are standard public relations jargon and marketing fluff anyways. Schwalbe is as of right now the only tire manufacturer who actually makes tires from recycled materials.
  • 13 0
 I love tyres
  • 15 9
 Hop across the pond and try a Tire sometime - I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
  • 8 0
 @suspended-flesh: it would be an honour, neighbour
  • 3 0
 @motdrawde: I mean our flags have the same colours, after all.
  • 12 0
 When can we have the 2.5 DHR2 though?
  • 1 1
 ^^^ Asking the real questions!
  • 2 0
 @Maxxis So much this. I think you'd find way more than top elites want that tire in a 2.5.
  • 1 1
 The 2.6 DHR was/is that, same size as a 2.5 DHF. Only available in EXO-Maxxterra though. I can sell you one in perfect condition.
  • 7 0
 What I'd like to ask manufacturers:

Have we reached peak aggressive tire design? i.e. Approximately 2.5" width, big side knobs with slightly less big center knobs, with ramped front edges, arranged in a grid pattern?

Seems like all aggressive MTB tires are just variants of the same design now, with mm adjustments in knob spacing/size.

Does that mean any new advancements in MTB tires will come from new rubber compounds, manufacturing methods, or lower prices? (lol, riiiight)
  • 11 3
 Casings my dude. Try schwalbe and never go back.
  • 3 0
 Future advancements will arrive the same way they have in the past: through marketing BS.
  • 1 0
 @zmums: which casings are we talking about here? Because I had a set of NN's in 2.6 and the casings may as well have been made of paper .
  • 2 0
 @dsciulli19: anything super trail or tougher
  • 8 0
 I found it interesting that companies that actually make a good sticky tire compound prioritized it over tread. The others said tread pattern was king. FWIW I'd go compound over tread every time.
  • 6 0
 Agreed. Tread can only create mechanical grip if the ground is soft enough. But dirt isn't the most challenging surface we ride. I want the confidence of a good compound on roots, slabs and wood features.
  • 1 0
 Tend to agree. I ran a trials tire on the back of my dirt bike when I rode them. Compound absoutely ruled over tread pattern in that extreme case. Was like being glued to the ground with grip.
  • 9 1
 If your terrain is harder than your tires, compound is king. If your terrain is softer than your tires, tread is king, but generally this will mean that you'll want good rebound characteristics from your tires anyways.
  • 10 0
 What about the "special sharpie programs" for some elite riders?
  • 6 0
 Really interesting divergence on why DH pros are running narrow rims. Compliance, cornering, tires designed for narrow rims (?!?!), "they just corner better", and to top it off "that isn't happening".

Pretty wild divergence amongst experts. I thought the disagreement was just us idiots in the comment section.
  • 2 0
 It would have really helped if they defined what narrow means. I don't consider 30mm to be narrow but with the way the question was asked it seems like they do since that is what most DH and Enduro riders are running.
  • 1 0
 @jessemeyers: the implication was closer to 25mm internal, which we still see on many DH race builds. I'd say ~30mm is becoming typical in Enduro, but luckily not much wider than that.
  • 1 0
 @dariodigiulio: I agree that 25mm is a good breakpoint for what I would consider narrow. Just would have prefer if that was stated explicitly in the question or if they had clarified on the discipline since I would imagine only XC racers are running rims ~25mm or less. ~30mm is what I would consider a normal width (EX511, EX1700, WAO Union, Stan's EX3, MK4). Do you know what narrower rims are still in use by pro DH and Enduro racers?
  • 3 0
 @jessemeyers: I had trouble finding a bike check from the past 9mos, but Loic Bruni was still running the 25mm inner width EX471 at least until early 2022, and may even still be running them now. Either way, he stuck with them long after the EX511 and EX1700 were released on the market.
  • 1 0
 @thekaiser: good find
  • 2 0
 I think when talking about racers using more "narrow" rims, they are really talking about the DT Swiss EX471 specifically. A very tough and relatively lightweight alloy rim that is a favourite for many DH and Enduro racers. I don't think the fact that it's only 25mm wide really play a part in why it's so popular - it's more likely just that it is the rim that many racers are used to because that's what they've always been running. A lot of them are probably very used to how the EX471 specifically behaves on trail and probably just don't want to change to a different rim that could make their bikes feel entirely different.
  • 3 0
 @thekaiser: Loic Bruni is still running the EX471 on his bike. He's had them on his prototype DH bike when he raced and won Crankworks a couple weeks ago. He's probably the best example of riders who choose that rim specifically.
  • 7 0
 Interesting read. I really like the narrow rim question. I wish Ibis wouldn't put wide rims on their bikes, especially the Ripley.
  • 2 0
 Yeah I was looking at ripley af’s a while back and it’s weird they put those wide rims and then spec 2.4 tires.
  • 1 0
 @ervinb123: I saw a Ripley at the LBS a few months ago and those wide rims really looked odd.
  • 1 0
 but the majority of manufacturers said that there are advantages to narrow rims
  • 1 1
 Unless you're racing, wider rims are better for most - this is what I gathered.
  • 5 1
 I've noticed this has also happened on a lot of articles in the past, don't know if anyone ever took the time to comment, but just an FYI pinkbike: when reading this article on my phone in portrait orientation the photos aren't formating to fit the screen and only the first letter of each brand is visible
  • 1 0
 Yes. I thought it was a guessing game, the photos resized nbut the text fell off the screen. So I only saw a tire and had to guess what brand it was.
  • 6 0
 Great article. It would have been interesting to ask if 26" is truly dead and sales are slacking, and the same of plus size tires.
  • 3 0
 A few years ago both Conti as well as Schwalbe convinced the interviewer that 26" isn't going away. Not sure whether anything has changed, but at least I continue to buy the 26" Schwalbe tires that I need. No issues with availability so far. I don't see them go away too soon though. But yeah, people who regularly buy new complete bikes probably end up buying big wheels hence need large diameter tires to fit them. Not sure how that evens out over all those people who ride bikes though. I ride 26" wheels (BTR Ranger), my neighbor rides 26" wheels (Liteville 301), my other neighbor rides 27.5" wheels (something from Giant). Yet I wouldn't be surprised if he'd replace the Giant for something else a few years later whereas me and my other neighbor continue to ride our 26" wheeled BTR and Liteville bikes. What I'm trying to say is, bike sales are only part of the story. People who frequently buy something new end up with the latest standards. Those who don't hold on to what's old. But that doesn't mean we aren't riding and wearing out parts.
  • 2 0
 26" sales aren't fully dead and will probably hang on for a while, but they are less than 5% of Maxxis sales. Pretty much the same story for plus tires. Interestingly, fat bike tire demand has seen a slight increase, mainly due to the crop of urban e-bikes on the market now, but it's still a tiny number.
  • 1 0
 @ARonBurgundy: Not sure what it is like in the US, but at least in Europe I feel like people who hold on to older standards also stick to those (for us here) traditional and steady brands like Schwalbe and Continental. As for the other European brands, I haven't seen Nokian mountainbike tires in a while and even though Michelin is traditional they haven't been as steady in the mountainbike scene. So yeah, somehow I feel Schwalbe and Conti may have a larger customerpool of people riding 26" wheeled stuff. Newcomers in the tire scene like Goodyear, e-thirteen and Pirelli probably won't bother with anything other than 27.5" and 29".
  • 4 0
 HILLBILLY RUBBER FTW!! So cool they get name dropped right off the bat. It's my secret weapon rubber. Kaz mentioned them as his favorite a few years ago, I'm glad they kept em in the lineup and I'm glad I got mine for like 1/2 the price of Maxxis hype- Way more stable on slick rocks, roots, muddy berms etc which is mostly what my rainy locale has to offer. If I wanna go fast after a rain I have confidence I neeever had with M products. My trail systems are not well supported/ never groomed so I have to deal with a bunch of wet leaves as well and the Hillybillys just chew through them, as the rep mentioned.

Also the tall aggressive spikes make em look badass like I mounted dirt bike wheels to my rig.
  • 5 0
 Dear schwalbe, can u please make 950gram magic Mary’s again for us lighter riders. Never flatted once in 5 years but once u stopped making evo trail star I went back to maxxis. I don’t need 1250gram tyres
  • 3 0
 Mine are close to 1400g, also need inserts with the super gravity.
  • 1 0
 there is the Magic Mary Super Ground which is around 1000g
  • 1 0
 They are actually 50% off right now www.schwalbetires.com/Magic-Mary-11601026
  • 7 0
 Innovation time: the valve stem is now your stem top cap bolt.
  • 9 0
 I’m on board only if you are required to route all your cables through it
  • 5 0
 Brakes with a quick release on the caliper and tubeless sealant for fluid. If you get a flat you clip the brake line to the valve and use the brake lever to pump it back up. It injects sealant first, then air once the sealant runs out.
  • 5 0
 @Lylat: Front brake gets sealant. Rear, chain lube. It's kinda like a maintenance mullet.
  • 4 0
 @noapathy: I’ll be using maintenance mullet in regular conversations. Thank you.
  • 8 0
 Maxxis Mobsters, breh
  • 4 0
 Dear Maxxis Any chance of Double Down Assegai in Max Terra. Yours sincerely Some fat old loser who's scared of gap jumps
  • 3 0
 Only DH tire capable of survive almost anything without a tire insert is a Michelin DH 22/34 tire. To me best pure DH tire in carcass and compound,heavy AF but best grip overall.
Michelin need to put the DH 22 tread in enduro carcass,same rubber compound but something 200g lighter would be ace.
  • 1 0
 That sounds awesome. Make the wild enduro with magi-x DH rubber. I wonder if the stiffer casing helps the slow rebounding rubber though. I like my wild enduro race line tires, but so heavy. That tire also has endless grip but feels like riding through peanut butter. Their trail tires, the force am and wild am are actually fantastic as well. They have lots of grip but roll very fast and efficiently. I rode them on my Transition scout in a rocky and muddy xc race one day and enduro race the next over the weekend and managed first overall in my category.
  • 1 0
 And I don't run inserts with any of the tires I mentioned
  • 1 0
 @mtb-thetown: I do not like the Wild Enduro tread, those shoulder lugs are to far away and made inconsistent grip. DH22 tread is a master piece,it is really good in any terrain. Compound is really close I think in DH and Enduro models. The carcass is very stiff but it´s never being a problem for meand I´m quite light rider. It feel great,no peanut butter hehehe.
I got a Wild Am2 in the rear of my Enduro for quite some time but 100% tire insert needed ,it is a decent tire too.
I think a DH Michelin tire and a tire insert would be too much for the average rider average weight.
In the front tire I run 16 psi (DH22) no tire insert.For the back tire I like the Butcher 2.3 DH casing T9 and a light XC octamouse tire insert at 18 psi.
I got another pair of wheels but only swap the front wheel for mellow trails. My second choice is an DD Assegai 3c.
  • 5 1
 Conti should definitely rethink the tire naming now that you can actually buy them and they are getting *traction* in dh worldcup.
  • 4 0
 you missed the environmental question in Continental's interview... Schwalbe and Vittoria seems the only ones that are really doing something
  • 6 0
 Hey can we just get 29+ tires again?
  • 3 0
 Have been on magic Mary’s since forever but the new supertrails are too ebike oriented for normal bike use, basically too heavy. Switched to conti kryptotals and very pleased , best new trail tyre imo
  • 5 0
 I was too. Switched to Kenda Hellkat Pro. Same feel but lighter and cheaper. haven't looked back.
  • 2 0
 Schwalbe convinced me that I should keep my Minions. I am oh so used to them after all these years…
“ In my opinion, a lot of riders underestimate how important or beneficial it is to get used to one specific tire; this vastly defines how your bike behaves. The more familiar you are with your tires, the more predictable your bike is going to behave, no matter the conditions!”
  • 3 0
 As a loyal DHF costumer, i'll have to admit that my new Vittoria Mazza is amazing
  • 2 0
 @Becciu: try the Butcher T9 next, you may like it even more.
  • 1 0
 I hate most Minions with a passion, but I agree with your statement about getting used to one tire.
  • 4 0
 I couldn't get past the Spesh answers.....I would not bat an eye if you told me all the answers came from ChatGPT. lmfao
  • 1 0
 the dude used warp and weft! That’s gonna make me finally try a Specialized tire.

(beep borp)
  • 2 0
 Inserts are required at my home bike park to save RIMS, not tires. You can dent rims super easily smashing into granite rocks over and over even at 30 psi. Large Vittoria airliner on 25mm rim has been clutch
  • 2 0
 Next time question: if you where forced to ride a tire from another brand which one would it be and would you sharpie the logo or just hope nobody gets a picture or video of you
  • 3 3
 Schwalbe: " I mean, I don’t know anyone who’s using polymer dampers in their suspension that are filling up to 50% of the travel."

How much room does Formula NeoPos occupy at most? Also, is there anyone using DeanEasy ABS? That one seems to take up quite some room in the air chamber, though it is open cell foam.
  • 1 0
 @specialized.. Why is your grid casing the only one that blows up to actual advertised (or above) volume? On 30mm IW rims you control and s works casing don't come close. The grids do though.
  • 3 1
 Never done the 24h Le max pressure. Next time for sure!! This article seems like an insert death sentence. Great reading, thank you
  • 2 0
 pedally enduro race +natural trails.. I go for a supertrail + cushcore.. bikepark or full dh, full dh tires... michelin or supergravity have worked great.. I think there is a place for light tire+ insert..
  • 5 1
 Talking about standards why can't we all spell it Tire rather than Tyre?
  • 1 0
 I'm tyred of this debate.
  • 2 0
 Maxxis Forecaster 2.4 X 29” sub 800 grams would be perfect for my riding conditions. Why did they bloat it up to Enduro standards?
  • 4 0
 I'm looking to try the Kenda Karma 2 exactly because they killed the Forekaster mk1.
  • 2 0
 because most people are riding it in conditions that warrant a heavier casing. people are straight sending on XC bikes these days, and there is no amount of light casing that will make you fast enough to make up the lost time of a puncture. would be nice if they made two versions though....but obviously they don't think there is a business case for such.
  • 2 0
 @Mtbdialed: Right? It’s such a great tread pattern for my riding conditions. Too bad they don’t have several options for it.
  • 1 1
 The issue with tyres for me is that we have front and rear patterns but not front and rear compounds.
It would be great if tire manufacturers specified harder compounds for rear specific tyres so we don’t wear them out on those long climbs.
  • 1 0
 Specialized does that.
  • 2 0
 Don't you just get to choose between different compounds for all those different models as there aren't always hard and fast rules of what is front and what is a rear tire. At least Schwalbe does offer you different compounds which often are a trade-off between grip, durability, rolling resistance etc. Everyone balances these properties differently so the rider should only buy the appropriate tire.
  • 1 0
 WTB does that, Fast Roll rear, High Grip front
  • 2 1
 So many non-answers it's hilarious, but the WTB guy takes the cake. He didn't actually answer a single question, but at least we know his life story. The Schwalbe rep stands out in a good way.
  • 1 0
 I miss a question in this great interview. I would like to ask the manufacturers why they do not make more front and rear specific tires. The front and rear tires have to IMHO perform pretty different tasks.
  • 1 0
 My Optic came with Magic Mary, and it was an excellent tire. But I replaced it with Assegai on advice of a local shop - another good tire and I can't tell any difference between them.
  • 1 0
 Maxxis should be made aware that there are carbon fiber 36" rims that weigh 580 g: www.nextie.com/premium-mountain-36-inch-NXT36XU42
  • 3 0
 That was fantastic! Good read
  • 2 0
 I've been running a Specialized Butcher/Eliminator setup, but I'm really interested to try the Continental Kryptotals.
  • 3 1
 how about...why in the crap are tires so expensive considering they really haven't advanced in quality or durability?
  • 2 1
 Cushcores are third party validated and personally they are a game changer for me. I'm disappointed but not surprised at a lot of these replies from tire manufacturers.
  • 3 0
 No interview with Mike Bear?!?!
  • 1 0
 For the rim width question it was interesting to read the wide variety of opinions of how rime width interacts with tire width and cornering.
  • 1 0
 Maxxis- please revisit the ADvantage tread pattern. The 2.4 side knobs are larger than a DHF and it rolls great. Awesome tire for East coast trail riding.
  • 2 0
 I want to know how well their tires handle being sharpied
  • 1 1
 feels great to know my choices are spot on. Magic Mary and Minion DHF front and Minion DHR 2 in the back although I do reverse the rear on my Trance it seems to work better.
  • 3 1
 How do you get a Magic Mary AND a Minion DHF up front? One tire inside the other, or side by side?
  • 4 0
 @woofer2609: Tadpole recumbent trike. Left/right tire selection depends on the predominant direction of flat corners in your favorite trail system.
  • 4 0
 @woofer2609: You put the DHF on first, then the MM on top. It's way better than an insert and I never pinch flat.
  • 1 1
 Directional tires are directional for a reason. They absolutely do not work better reversed.
  • 1 2
 @woofer2609: multiple bikes.....duh.... and duh hilk
  • 2 0
 @madmon: "and" is not "or" (ask a linguist and/or a philosopher)
  • 1 0
 @barp: no rules no problems
  • 1 0
 @madmon: no worries
  • 2 0
 I was hoping for a 28" wheel size in the future:/
  • 3 0
 28.99"
  • 2 0
 Joke's on you, the Germans (Schwalbe and Continental) are already referring to their 700C road tires as 28".
  • 1 0
 They should have asked, "Do you design your tires off of other company's tires?" Lol.
  • 2 0
 WTB bring back the Breakout.
  • 1 0
 Very nice PB that you asked the questions from many manufacturers, not just 2-3. Great article.
  • 1 0
 I'd love to see the question "What if you had to race/ride in horrible mud conditions"
  • 3 1
 Screw 32 in+, where is the 26-inch options???
  • 1 0
 Missed the opportunity to tell Maxxis to revert back to the old style hot patches
  • 2 0
 Not stoked on the super heavy new Forecasters.
  • 2 0
 What about tire construction options? Why we don't see radial bike tires?
  • 2 0
 would you warranty a wonky brand new tire? Maxxis?
  • 2 1
 Great read. Need more of this!
  • 1 0
 Awesome content! thank you. DHR II on narrow rims all the way
  • 4 3
 Choose a tire brand combo, be a dick about it
  • 1 0
 Text to speech with autoplay on please!
  • 1 0
 Conti, please make a Baja 29x2.4!
  • 1 0
 Really wish conti and WTB were in stock when I’m shopping for tires.
  • 1 0
 Oh you liked the DHR2? Thank you.
  • 1 0
 Jeeez, that internal cable routing crap just keeps coming at us...
  • 1 2
 Specialized guy works for a company which "makes" but rims and tires and is still moaning that rim and tire companys don't work together well enough? Big Grin
  • 1 0
 Interesting where they stand on inserts.
  • 3 2
 All tires should be available with tanwalls 3
  • 1 0
 Can someone summarise it for me. Not going to read this wall of text.
  • 1 0
 Size matters, tire compounds matter more than tread design, tires are designed to work without inserts.
  • 1 0
 Schwal-bee or Schwal-bay?
  • 1 1
 Shvalb
  • 1 0
 Sad the Edge 22 design never took off.
  • 1 0
 Around and around we go
  • 1 1
 I'm too tired to read all this.
  • 2 5
 Went straight to Maxxis, skipped everything else. DHRII front and rear for the win! :-)
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